Our climate change champion Richard Hagan, managing director of Crystal Doors, on why listening to people and the environment can help your business.
Some years ago, I learnt an important life lesson about being quiet and listening to nature and other people. I was someone who listened to others just to respond, but didn’t often listen to understand. I believed I knew what other people wanted to hear, without first taking the time to acknowledge their feelings or beliefs.
Back in 2015, the large biomass burner I had installed at Crystal Doors was refused planning permission on environmental grounds and I was asked to close the factory. I desperately took action to search for people able to help me and my company survive.
For the first time, I had to be quiet and listen to individuals who were able to offer important value and support. I also learnt to listen to the nature around us that my company and I were putting at risk.
I put the recommendations I was given into practice, taking hundreds of small steps, and today Crystal Doors has outrun organisations many times our size in the race to a more sustainable future.
National Quiet Day [September 14] is a good reminder to write a list of my promises, both spoken and written, over the past year, and then to question my reality. Have I listened well? Have I lied to myself and others, or can I evidence that I have walked the walk, not just talked the talk?
Nature is silently rebelling against the lies we have told ourselves about our impact on the planet.
Businesses that offer lower emissions, lower energy use, lower water use, less waste or less noise should use that to their advantage
This summer, the UK reached record temperatures of over 40°C for the first time in our history. We have certainly learnt that man-made climate change is real.
It is up to every business to prove they are listening. All large companies are legally required to report their carbon emissions, and it is incumbent on the rest of us independents not just to follow suit, but use our flexibility and freedom from bureaucracy to go even further and faster.
Neither Crystal Doors nor I are quiet about our actions and achievements.
Forward-thinking businesses with a product or service that offers lower emissions, lower energy use, lower water use, less waste, less noise or another significant environmental benefit, should use that sustainability brand value to their advantage.
As the saying goes, it’s not what you say or do, it’s how you make people feel.
Nature is now making us feel very uncomfortable and we must adapt. Businesses can no longer be quiet about their relationship with people and planet. It is time to speak the truth and share with every customer, supplier, and employee the brighter, greener future we can achieve together.